Figures released by the East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust reveal children as young as three years of age have been treated for eating disorders with doctors admitting that they gave some life-saving advice to a three year old.
Doctors blame the pressure of achieving the "perfect body" in the society for the rising rates of eating disorders among children. According to the figures, more than 120 children have been treated for eating disorders in a single area though doctors said that the figures were just the tip of an iceberg since many go without receiving any treatment.
"Evidence shows that it can take 18 months to two-and-a-half years for children to realize they have an eating disorder or seek treatment for it. We only work with children up to 16 years of age, and the majority of eating disorders in children start in the teens, so some will end up being treated in adult services", Dr Malcolm Bourne, a child psychiatrist with the NHS Trust said.